Mary Lou Jepsen On Wasting the Children of the World

Jepsen:  Right now about half the children in the world don’t get what we would consider at all an education.  If they’re lucky they get two and a half hours a day in class from age six to age 12 where they learn how to sing, memorize, and exercise.  That’s if they get to go to school.  We can do so much more.  Part of learning is asking the question why?  Having a laptop where you can do a Google search and ask why, it doesn’t have to be Google, it could be any web browser or any search engine but, a) they get the computers.  They learn how to read.  There’s lots of studies done in lots of countries where kid plus computer, six months, no human intervention other than that, the child learns how to read so that’s a great start, amazing, because it’s interactive.  We’re dealing in situations like in Peru where certain pilots have been completed over the last six months.  Peru bought like 400,000 laptops and Peru was ranked, the World Economic Forum did a study of primary education in the developing world.  One hundred and thirty-one countries participated and Peru came in 131st and they thought, well, there’s more than 200 countries in the world and at least we have a baseline and we’re going to do something about it.  So what they looked at was, one thing was reading comprehension scores and in primary schools in Peru 15 percent of kids are reading at grade level.  Everybody else is below that, only 15 percent.  So we went into a couple schools where zero percent of the children were reading at grade level.  Six months with the laptop and 30 percent of those children are reading at grade level and a lot of them are pretty close to grade level just with a laptop, so reading is the first step but really part of learning is sort of imagining a different role for yourself than you’ve imagined before.  These children in the case of-- I got the eye patches on maybe because I got an infection when I was helping with deployment in Peru recently.  These places don’t have clean water, thus the infection.  They don’t have electricity.  They don’t have roads oftentimes.  They’re really remote places and so it’s not just the children but the whole village thinks of themselves, their world is the village and they might have some TV intermittently but they think of that as a fairytale, like their life is this village and their prospects for what they do with their lives are whatever the thing of the village is, usually farming.  And so all of a sudden the parents are saying, “Let’s try school again now that we’ve got the laptops” and they see their kids are learning how to read and getting on the web and getting information.  The children and the whole village see themselves as part of this bigger world in a way that they haven’t before and see much different possibilities for what they can become, what they can do, and how they can participate.

No other tool is so well designed to open new possibilities.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less